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John Kellard

John Kellard

May 6th, 1926 August 27th, 2020

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Obituary

Obituary for John J. Kellard

John Joseph Kellard (Jack) passed away on August 27, 2020 at the age of 94. He was born in New Rochelle, NY to Mary and Joseph Kellard, who predeceased him along with his brother Adrian Kellard.

He attended New Rochelle schools and enlisted in the Army Air Corp and proudly served from 1946 to 1949. He was honorably discharged as a sergeant. He was proud to go on the Honor Flight to Washington, DC recently with his daughter Carol Thompson.

Jack worked in retail at Brook Brothers until he retired. He also held a second job for over 50 years at Madison Square Garden. where he enjoyed many great performances and sports events.
He especially enjoyed travelling, dancing, playing golf and spending winters in Florida.

He is survived by his life partner of 20 years, Louise Coleman, his former wife Michelina Wright and their children Carol Thompson, John J Kellard and James Kellard and his other children, Mary Vale, Maureen Jones and Joseph Kellard. There are 8 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.

Jack will be waked at Westchester Funeral Home, 190 Main Street, Eastchester on Sunday, August 30th. Visiting hours 2 pm to 6 pm. A funeral mass will be held at 9:30 AM on Monday, August 31 at the Immaculate Conception Church, 53 Winter Hill Rd. Tuckahoe, NY.
Online condolences can be made at www.westchesterfuneralhome.com.

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Service Details

  • Visitation

    August 30th, 2020 | 2:00pm - 6:00pm
    Westchester Funeral Home, Inc.
    190 Main Street
    Eastchester, NY
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    August 30th, 2020
    2:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Service

    August 31st, 2020 | 9:30am
    Immaculate Conception Church
    53 Winter Hill Rd.
    Tuckahoe, NY
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    August 31st, 2020
    9:30am

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JK

Joseph Kellard


It is with great sorrow that I tell you my father, Jack Kellard, passed away early this morning. He was 94 and I was the baby among his six children.

I am so grateful that I was able to speak to him one last time last night, a brief conversation with which I’ll end this remembrance of him. I hope you will indulge me for a couple of minutes until then.

First, thank you to all my friends and family who already sent their condolences to my immediate family and me. You can’t know just how much you will appreciate such sentiments until that day comes.

To start, I would be remiss not to mention that my father and I had an on-again-off-again, emotional-rollercoaster of a relationship since my teen years. There were long periods when we didn’t speak, followed by reconciliation and spending quality time together. Most recently, about five years ago, after we hadn’t contacted each other for several years, my dad reached out to me, we met for lunch, and we resumed our relationship again. I’m so very grateful for that, especially on a day like today.

When I think of the good times with my father, I remember how we would play catch on our front lawn in Oceanside, Long Island, where my family—my father, my mother, Rita, and my sisters, Mary and Maureen—settled after we lived at a few places during my early years. I remember that when my father was not working nights or weekends, he would always attend my Little League games, first at School 4, then at Wrights Field, and later at Oceanside Park, my Stallions football games held at the high school, and my bowling league matches at Oceanside Bowl, always instructing me on how I could improve my game in each sport.
My father never tired of driving, and each summer our family would take road trips to some destination along the eastern seaboard, from Disney World in Florida to Montreal and many places in between, including Ocean Grove in New Jersey, Mount Vernon in Virginia, and the Vanderbilt and other mansions along the Hudson Valley.
The most memorable trips were to my aunt Henrietta and cousin Peter’s cozy cottage house in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts. I loved playing with my sisters in the woods there and cuddling with them on a bed that pulled out from the couch in front of the roaring fireplace, while the adults talked and laughed over drinks in the room overlooking us. These were some of the happiest times of my childhood.
My mother loved it up there so much that my parents, along with my grandmother, bought a house in South Egremont, a small one-traffic-light town just south of Great Barrington. In conversations with my dad in recent years, I learned that he had trouble finding work up there (this was during the early 1970s), and he would spend whole weeks away from us working back in New York City a few hours away. When he came home on weekends, he would work around the house and mowed our acre of property with a tractor lawn mower. The back-and-forth became too much for him, so we moved back to New York in less than two years.
What I admired most about my dad was that he was hardworking. After he was discharged from the military, in which he served during the tail end of World War II (see what I wrote about his service in a link in the comments below), he went to work in New York City and eventually worked at high-end clothing stores, including Cavanagh, a men's hat store, and Pucci, both in Midtown, and Brooks Brothers near Wall Street downtown.
He also moonlighted at Madison Square Garden for more than 50-years, working as an usher and ticket taker, as well as at the US Open Tennis Tournament, first in Forest Hills and later in Flushing, where we had moved after Massachusetts. Through the years, my father took my sisters and me to all kinds of shows at the Garden, from circuses, to the Ice Capades, to the Harlem Globe Trotters, Knicks and Ranger games, rodeos, Frank Sinatra singing in the round, to my first rock concerts, Elton John and The Who, and many, many more shows.
Especially in recent years, I reveled in the stories he used to tell us about working at all these places and all the famous people, entertainers and athletes and celebrities he served or otherwise encountered. These included the Prince of Wales, composer Cole Porter, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Marylin Monroe, Robert Redford, Cindy Crawford and so many more I simply can’t remember now. My father worked at the Garden up to his mid-80s! He always loved to go to work.
In his later years, my father also travelled extensively, taking multiple trips to Italy and Ireland, as well as Turkey, Scandinavia, and other parts of Europe.
After my parents had divorced and years later my mother passed away, he was there for my sisters and me through her stay in the hospital and after. I’ll always be very grateful to him for his support and generosity.
As I indicated at the start, my father and I had a rocky relationship but we reconciled in recent years and I got to spend some quality time with him. A few years ago, we took a road trip together back to where we lived in Massachusetts. We drove to all the places that brought back great memories: the one-room schoolhouses I used to attend, the old general store where my sisters and I handpicked candy out of glass jars, and an old barn where we bought pottery bowls and mugs with our names on them. We stopped for lunch with my cousin Peter, then I took my dad to the summer house-turned-museum of Daniel Chester French (my favorite American sculptor) in Stockbridge, then we drove to Lee for a music and dance festival. It was a very sentimental and memorable day together.
We also drove around to the many charming towns and villages in Westchester County where he was now living part-time, as well as in Florida, where I visited him last year and we drove down the coast to Fort Lauderdale, we went to a St. Patrick’s Day parade and party, and I took a tour of the classic Art Deco hotels in Miami Beach.
During these times alone together, he often opened up to me much more than he ever had. He talked a lot about his childhood experiences growing up in New Rochelle after his father, a police officer, died when my dad was just seven-years-old during the Great Depression. For the first time also, he opened up about his military service and how that impacted him, being shipped to a small island in the middle of the Pacific at only 18/19 years old at the end of WWII.
Recently, my father had spent a few weeks in the hospital, but after he was discharged he was quickly back and his health rapidly declined before he passed away in the wee hours this morning. Last night, I was finally able to reach him on the phone in his hospital room. The nurse sitting there with him answered and told him, “It’s your son, Joe.” When I asked my father how he was doing, he was able to muster: “Not too good but not too bad.” It was heart wrenching for me to hear how feeble he sounded, as he always had a strong, booming voice. There were long pauses between his mostly incoherent sentences, so I told him to rest up and to please hang in there and I would speak with him very soon. I told him: “I love you, Dad! I love you! I love you!” He was able to say, “I love you, too.” Those were my father’s final words to me. I could not have received any more meaningful words.
I love you and will miss you and your support, Dad!
Comment | Posted at 07:20am via Condolence
R

Ruth Littenberg

Jack and i were friends going back to the eighties. For many years he shared my house. We we great friends. We shared our trials and tribulations with our respective relationships etc. We had lots of laughs over those. We went to the beach each weekend that we could and Jack would pick up breakfast and call me to get up so we could get there early enough to park. At that time he lived on Oceanside. We did a lot of traveling going through the Berkshires one year and to Pennsylvania another year. We had so much fun together and so many fun times. I will always remember his kind heart and warm smile
Sadly but with great love I say go dance in heaven dear Jack. I love you and will never forget you. Love. Ruth.
Comment | Posted at 08:43pm via Condolence
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